Sebastian Priaulx produced record-breaking pace in his Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 on his way to a stunning debut victory in the British GT Championship during the traditional Easter weekend season opener at Oulton Park (20-22 April).
Alongside his experienced Canadian team-mate Scott Maxwell, Priaulx truly excelled in Cheshire. After taking pole position courtesy of a new GT4 class qualifying lap record, the 18 year old also posted the fastest race lap of the meeting on his way to the race two win.
The 1st Central Insurance supported driver was immediately a presence at the top of the timesheets during two official practice sessions on Friday, finishing the day second quickest, before a superb performance saw him post the fastest time in free practice the next day.
Qualifying later that afternoon was split into two ten minute sessions for the GT4 field, with Maxwell hitting the track and producing a great time to secure pole position for the opening race, before Priaulx took over and truly stunned the paddock with his pace.
On his first flying lap of the session, the Guernseyman posted a 1m 42.384s effort to top the timesheets by over a second and write his name into the record books with the fastest GT4 qualifying lap around Oulton Park in British GT history.
Returning to action on Easter Monday in continued glorious sunshine in Cheshire, the opening race unfortunately proved to be a frustrating affair. Maxwell started behind the wheel of the Mustang and ran in the top three for the majority of his stint.
Unfortunately an incident just before the pitstop window opened meant that Priaulx took over the car in 13th position. The Ravenscroft and Plus Interiors supported driver immediately got up to the front-running pace and soon gained a place.
Priaulx’s efforts to make further progress was halted by some robust defensive driving ahead however. After getting a run down the inside into Cascades with four laps to go, slight contact sent him spinning into the barriers, but fortunately he was able to nurse the car home in 18th.
A great effort from Multimatic Motorsports ensured the Mustang was ready to go for the second race of the weekend and Priaulx was able to reward their efforts with a brilliant first stint behind the wheel, leading away from pole and building a gap at the front.
From there, Priaulx wouldn’t be caught and held a two second advantage into the pitstop window, with team-mate Maxwell emerging in third position in class. A man on a mission from there, he superbly picked his way through to the lead and took the chequered flag first.
The brilliant success makes it the third year in a row that Priaulx has tasted victory during the opening rounds of his season and he is determined to carry the momentum from a memorable weekend into the next rounds of British GT at Snetterton in Norfolk next month (18/19 May).
Sebastian Priaulx: “I’m absolutely over the moon with how the weekend has gone. We headed into the Oulton Park meeting in confident mood, but I honestly couldn’t have dreamt that my British GT Championship debut would go the way it has.
“A huge amount of credit has to go to Multimatic Motorsports. They have done a wonderful job throughout pre-season and across this weekend. The Ford Mustang GT4 was faultless and both myself and Scott [Maxwell] were able to push it to its limit.
“To top qualifying by such a huge margin was a fantastic feeling and gave me so much confidence heading into race day. It was a shame the first race went the way it did, so we’re all delighted we could bounce back the way we did in race two.
“I felt comfortable in my stint, leading from the front and maintaining the margin. The pitstop timing with the safety car was tricky, but Scott drove excellently and brought it home. To win on our debut is incredible and we want to get back on the top step at Snetterton.”
Images from Jakob Ebrey Photography.